Labour CND statement on Gaza Ceasefire now! Stop the genocide! End the occupation!

Image courtesy of @GazaMedicVoices on X

Atrocious and disproportionate attacks on vulnerable Gazans continue day by day, hour by hour. The world watches helplessly as hospitals, schools, and other civilian facilities are targeted by Israel claiming their military actions are carried out against terrorist militias and infrastructure.

Is it any wonder that demands for a ceasefire grow, and billions of people around the world take to the streets to demand Ceasefire now! Stop the genocide! End the occupation!

Civilians on the ground in Gaza – hospital patients, babies in the neo-natal units, the vulnerable, frail, elderly, and hungry – cannot wait a moment longer for a ceasefire. More than 12,000 are already dead in Gaza as Israel continues to act with impunity.

A vote in parliament on 17 November, saw 56 Labour MPs defy the Labour whip to support a ceasefire, including 10 who resigned from shadow posts to do so. The 10 join  Imran Hussein MP who resigned from the shadow team last week, and others who signed Early Day Motion 1685, Protecting civilians in Gaza and Israel sponsored by Richard Burgon MP on 17 October.

Labour Mayors have spoken out for a ceasefire, so too Labour Councillors, National Executive Committee members, and other Labour office holders. Labour CND commends their courage and sends our solidarity.

On the morning following the vote, Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey claimed: ‘we are acting in these very difficult circumstances as if we were in government.’ Together with tens of thousands of party members, Labour CND wants Labour in government to uphold international law and be part of a positive solution to this crisis.

Hours after John Healy made his statement in support of Keir Starmer, school students marched in east London to tell Rushana Ali MP to supports a ceasefire. Days before the vote, Lambeth party members held a vigil at the constituency office of Helen Hayes MP calling for her to support a ceasefire, while trade union members blockaded a BAE systems arms factory in Rochester demanding no arms sales to Israel. BAE systems is a main supplier of parts for US F-35 fighter jets which are flown by Israel. These are just three examples of hundreds of actions taking place across Britain.

Labour CND agrees with the UN, Oxfam, Save the Children, the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, 89% of Labour voters, trade unionists and school students, and with the 56 Labour MPs and Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott, Claudia Webbe, and the hundreds of thousands of people who keep marching on the streets of Britain: humanitarian pauses are not working, they are no alternative to the demand for a ceasefire.

Like all the people who are taking action, Labour CND wants a Labour government that acts ethically, upholds international law, and recognise what is already evident to the majority of the world: there is no military solution to this long-enduring Israel-Palestine conflict.

This Tory government has no mandate and no morals. Labour must break with bipartisan policy on Gaza. We must have a ceasefire now.

Labour CND
17 November 2023

Labour CND statement on Gaza

Protestors gathered in Portland Place, London last Saturday to march in solidarity with Gaza. Emergency demonstrations across the UK included in Manchester, Stockport, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen. Observers put the number on the streets in London at between 100- and 150,000.

Labour CND today issued the following statement on the situation in Gaza:

In the week following the horrific attacks by Hamas which killed more than 1,300 Israeli civilians, over 2,000 Palestinians in the occupied territory of Gaza have died in retaliatory air strikes. As the first of these took place, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced: ‘We are striking our enemies with unprecedented might. I emphasise that this is only the beginning.’ Israel is now planning for an air, land, and sea attack on Gaza.

Large parts of Gaza have been reduced to rubble, and the UN estimates that almost one million Gazans are already displaced. As the situation escalates and civilian casualties mount, international agencies are warning of an impending humanitarian disaster while the media is rife with talk about the possibility of a wider war in the Middle East.

United Nations has warned against ‘indiscriminate or disproportionate action against Gaza’ and expressed concern over the ‘full siege’ of Gaza, describing shutting off electricity, water, food, and fuel supplies as ‘collective punishment’. The Secretary General has called for the immediate release of all Israeli hostages and underscored the need for ‘rapid and unimpeded’ humanitarian access to Gaza.

World Health Organisation ‘strongly condemns Israel’s repeated orders for the evacuation of 22 hospitals treating more than 2000 inpatients in northern Gaza. The forced evacuation of patients and health workers will further worsen the current humanitarian and public health catastrophe. The lives of many critically ill and fragile patients hang in the balance.’

Oxfam UK Director Danny Sriskandarajah told BBC News: ‘We work in some of the most difficult situations in the world, in Yemen, in Syria, and Somalia. But this is unprecedented. There is no way we can get things in or people out.’

Labour CND opposes all attacks on Israeli and Palestinian civilians. History has already shown that  military confrontations offer no long-term solution to a crisis which has deep roots. In the words of UN Secretary General António Guterres: ‘The most recent violence does not come in a vacuum, but grows out of a long-standing conflict, with a 56-year long occupation and no political end in sight.’

Labour CND calls for the release of Israeli hostages, for military de-escalation, and for real and meaningful peace talks, brokered by the international community and taking on board the security of Palestinian and Israeli civilians.

We do so, however, in the knowledge that the United States has already committed material support to its regional ally. This includes supplying bunker busting munitions to Israel which are banned from use in densely populated areas under the Geneva Convention due to the risk of mass civilian casualties.

The US is also deploying a second aircraft battle group to the eastern Mediterranean to join a group already in the area, and relocating a marine amphibious-ready group from the Gulf. This show of force on the side of Israel by the leader of NATO suggests escalation rather than de-escalation.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Keir Starmer have also clearly expressed their firm support for Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’. A 100,000-strong emergency demonstration on the streets of London on Saturday, together with thousands more on the streets of Manchester, Stockport, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen including Labour members and affiliates however, showed that a significant section of public opinion in Britain strongly disagrees with this bipartisan approach by the government and opposition.

Labour CND believes Keir Starmer’s statement in support of Israel, which is using disproportionate force and endangering civilians in responding to Hamas attacks, contradicts Labour Party policy which has expressed clear support for Palestinians at successive annual conferences.

16 October 2023

Labour CND response to Daily Telegraph article

David Lammy and John Healey have used an article in the Daily Telegraph (Paywall) to argue that nuclear weapons are Labour’s “heritage” and describe the commitment to Trident and NATO as “unshakeable”. This is a clear attempt to rewrite history and gloss over the huge opposition to Trident amongst Labour Party members and in the trade unions, and the substantial periods where full and comprehensive nuclear disarmament has been adopted as the official policy. 

There has also been an emphatic tradition of advocating nuclear disarmament from all wings of the Labour Party.  In recent years large numbers of constituency Labour Parties have made submissions to party conferences and the National Policy Forum in favour of scrapping Trident, and the Labour Party Conference in 2021 passed a resolution opposing AUKUS. 

Often the disagreement within the party is said to be concerning the means to an end of a nuclear-free world – an aspiration regrettably missing from the Telegraph article.  The next Labour Government should commit to a meaningful programme of nuclear disarmament and to signing the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, known as the Nuclear Ban Treaty, which is supported by more than 120 countries as well as 68% of Labour Party members. 

We continue to believe that the billions of pounds being wasted on a new generation of nuclear weapons would be better spent addressing real security and priorities like climate justice, health, education and building a fairer and more equal society. Labour CND will continue to campaign against nuclear weapons and for peace

Why Labour must oppose nuclear power

To order a hard copy of the pamphlet, email and we will get back to you.

Alternatively you can download a PDF by purchasing below, you will be redirected to a download page.

July 2023 was the hottest on record This year has been a story of extreme and record-breaking weather:

    • heatwaves throughout southern Europe
    • fires and pollution in North America
    • record-breaking winter heatwaves in South America
    • the warmest winter ever in Australia
    • record high temperatures and rainfall in Asia
    • severe droughts in the Middle East and Africa

Despite calls for world leaders to step up action on climate change, greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise while politicians here and elsewhere bicker over climate and energy policy.

Some see the inclusion of low-carbon nuclear power as a quick fix.  Labour CND’s pamphlet, which will be launched at Labour Party conference in Liverpool, explains why the idea that nuclear power can come to the rescue is a false and dangerous mistake.

In the face of the two biggest threats to humanity – climate change and nuclear war – Sam Mason makes a powerful case against nuclear power and explains why the Labour Party must oppose it.

Labour, Climate Change & Nuclear Power
available at conference from the CND stand price £3, or
order a copy from labourcnd@gmail

Stand with Diane Abbott MP

#ReinstateDiane #HandsOffDiane #StandWithDiane

Having engaged with Labour’s disciplinary procedure for many months, Diane Abbott MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington has broken her silence to issue a statement which is a damning indictment of the ‘fraudulent’ process, insisting ‘there is no investigation’ actually taking place.

Labour CND stands with Diane who has been a loyal and outspoken opponent of nuclear weapons and war throughout her parliamentary career and before.

Labour Black Socialists has responded to Diane’s continued exclusion from the Parliamentary Labour Party saying it ‘provides further evidence that the “hierarchy of racism” continues to thrive unabated’ and that Labour ‘can no longer call itself the Party of equality, justice and democracy’. 

LBS, which launched a petition in April to reinstate Diane, is campaigning for Labour to:

    • Lift Diane Abbott’s suspension and restore the whip.
    • Openly defend Diane and other Black MPs from racist and misogynist abuse, taking appropriate action against Labour staffers, members, Councillors and MPs who engage in such abhorrent behaviour.
    • Fully acknowledge that a hierarchy of racism exists within the Party and take immediate steps to implement the recommendations of the Forde report in relation to anti-Black racism and Islamophobia.
    • Restore its commitment to implementing the Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) structures within the Party Rule Book and which resulted from the 2018 Democracy Review.
    • Challenge racism and misogyny within the media and wider society.

Starmer removes Peace and Disarmament role from shadow team

The decision by Sir Keir Starmer to abolish the post of Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament is a backwards step and must be reversed. 

Fabian speaks at the CND fringe meeting at Labour Conference in 2019 – alongside current Shadow Foreign Sec David Lammy

Fabian Hamilton had carried out the role with distinction from its creation in 2016. Not only did he build links between the Labour Party and civil society working on issues around militarism, peace and disarmament, but he also engaged with the United Nations on issues including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Fabian has been a strong advocate for peace and nuclear disarmament, which perhaps ultimately led to him being asked to stand down. Without a dedicated voice for peace and disarmament in the shadow Foreign Office team there is a real danger of losing focus on non-proliferation and arms controls that are necessary to address Britain’s real security needs.

Labour must be a party firmly rooted in international law. The next Labour government must recommit to our existing international Treaty obligations on nuclear disarmament as well as engaging constructively with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Labour Party members will not allow the party to further embrace militarism and pro-war policies while turning its back on the path to peace.

In thanking Fabian Hamilton for his work on nuclear disarmament, Labour CND calls on Sir Keir Starmer to immediately reverse this decision and reinstate the Peace and Disarmament role on the front bench.

All woman panel on women, war & nukes

Join Labour CND Chair Carol Turner and her guests at our Arise Festival session, Tuesday 26 July, part of the Leftie Lunchtime 1-hour events . Register here and find out more

— Jess Barnard, Young Labour
— Lindsey German, author How a Century of War Changed the Lives of Women & STW
— Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Jewish Voice for Labour
— and a special guest

Where is the outrage over Yemen?

Labour CND committee member Rae Street is doing her single-handed best to keep the UK government’s shameful role in the war and humanitarian crisis in Yemen in full view, with regular letters to the national press. Here’s why….

Understandably, there is at the moment much in the media about the war in Ukraine where there is absolute carnage. However, what is not understandable is the complete lack of coverage of other conflicts in Somalia, Gaza, Ethiopia, but especially the  war in the Yemen. 

The Campaign Against Arms Trade estimates that over 377,000 have died  in the Yemen, either directly through the fighting or indirectly from hunger and disease. Shelter Box, the donations point for the charity Shelter, is appealing for funds for shelters which they are now managing to get through to the Yemen.

Their leaflet describes Yemeni families living in ‘nests’, that is a form of pitiful shelter built from scraps of metal and material.  I have never before heard the word ‘nest’ used in that way.

The UK government has been instrumental in bringing this about. The UK is part of the Saudi-led coalition and it is UK arms, including fighter planes from BAE Systems, which have been sold to Saudi Arabia.

Those arms are currently pounding the Yemen and murdering the people.  It is shameful that the UK government supports Saudi Arabia.  The UK should not be in the war coalition, should not be selling and shipping arms to Saudi Arabia.

Where is the outrage at the humanitarian catastrophe there?

Are US nuclear weapons coming to Britain again?

Labour CND Chair Carol Turner’s blog on the Ukraine crisis launches with the announcement that the UK is about to become the sixth European Nato member to host American nuclear weapons. Keep tuned in for updates

The world is closer to nuclear war than we’ve been for decades, closer perhaps than ever before. Strained relations between Russia and the US over Nato’s eastward expansion touched boiling point at the end of February, when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was followed by the announcement that Russian nukes were being moved to special alert.

What’s needed is cool council, encouragement to de-escalate the war and negotiate a stable end to this dangerous conflict. Instead, the belligerent rhetoric of the US, Britain and other European Nato members adds weight to the emerging view that Nato would welcome a long and protracted war in order to exhaust Russia – and consequences for the people of Ukraine be damned.

Against this looming possibility of nuclear war, a report by Hans Kristensen, Nuclear Information Project Director at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) gives cause for us to be very afraid. The UK, he says, is set to become the sixth European Nato member to host American nuclear weapons on our territory.

Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and Turkey already have US nuclear weapons stationed within their borders. FAS estimates around 100 US nuclear bombs are deployed in these five countries.

US Department of Defence (DoD) documents suggest the UK has been added to the list of nuclear weapons storage locations. Kristensen believes RAF Lakenheath, 80 miles northeast of London, is likely to be that facility. In the past, Lakenheath was used to store US Air Force (USAF) nuclear gravity bombs. The facilities to do so are still intact.

This analysis by FAS comes as Lakenheath is getting ready to become the first USAF base in Europe equipped with the latest generation of nuclear-capable fighter-bomber aircraft. The first of the F-35As arrived at Lakenheath in December last year; the US is due to begin training in the next 12 months.

Kristensen points out there is no public indication from Nato yet that it intends to store nuclear bombs in Lakenheath. He speculates that its upgrade ‘could potentially be intended to increase the flexibility of the existing nuclear deployment within Europe, without increasing the number of weapons’. In other words, with a war with Russia in the offing, Lakenheath could receive nuclear weapons from existing European Nato locations to ‘better realign the overall nuclear posture in Europe’.

Arms Control Association Director Daryl Kimball, however, told the Guardian he saw the upgrade of the UK storage facilities as: ‘an early sign that the US and Nato are preparing to engage in a protracted and maybe heightened standoff with Putin’s Russia.’

Meanwhile, the British government is working hand in glove with Nato and the US on Ukraine. Prime Minister Johnson’s recent announcement of increased military assistance to President Zelensky, including supplying offensive weaponry, is fanning the flames of a war that could stretch across Europe and beyond.

Keeping the people of Britain safe should be foremost amongst the UK government’s concerns. Creating the conditions for siting American nuclear weapons in Britain is tantamount to painting a target on the back of everyone in the UK.

This Tory government could and should be playing a supportive role in negotiations to end the Ukraine conflict, not helping escalate it. And Labour should be demanding it do so from across the opposition benches, not trailing in Johnson’s wake.

Read Hans Kristensen full report, Lakenheath Air Base Added To Nuclear Weapons Storage Site Upgrades, 11 April 2022 here
See Julian Borger and Sam Sabbagh, UK military vaults upgraded to store new US nuclear weapons, Guardian 12 April 2022 here

Nuclear power: the jobs myth

Join Labour CND’s Sam Mason and Daniel Blaney at this webinar organised by CND’s Trade Union Advisory Group on Monday 9 May at 19:00. Sam Mason, who represents her union on the Trade Unions for Energy Democracy initiative, will be speaking on sustainability. She joins MV Ramana , a physicist and expert on small modular nuclear reactors, who is Professor of Global and Human Security at the University of British Columbia . Daniel Blaney will chair the webinar on behalf of CND. Register here